DEPUTIES and party leaders can always be trusted to come up with absurd ideas. The latest example is the proposal to set up a House committee on the Cyprus problem by the leader of the Greens Yiorgos Perdikis, who claimed, quite ludicrously, that this could work as ‘debate tool’. As if there were any lack of debate on the Cyprus problem – the parties do little else other than to talk about it in newspaper articles, on radio, on television and in the announcements they issue daily.
What we need is not more aimless debate, in which the party leaders compete over who is the most principled, patriotic hard-liner, but the political will to take decisions. We do not need another ‘debate tool’ for Perdikis, Papadopoulos, Sizopoulos etc to attack the effort to find a settlement show off their uncompromising support of partition. Our politicians have been debating every arcane detail of the problem for the last 40 years. They have said everything that needed to be said against a settlement and it is time they left President Anastasiades to negotiate a deal, which they can attack with all their strength, if and when it is finalised.
Perdikis’ justification for the setting up of the committee was the lack of information about the talks. But would Anastasiades offer more information to a House committee than he does to the National Council? Is Perdikis unaware of the fact that the president is not answerable to the legislature, or is his proposal just another publicity-seeking gimmick aimed at advertising his so-called commitment to consensus? As if this were not bad enough, he had also proposed that the House legislated for the abolition of guarantees, in order to stop Anastasiades agreeing to a settlement that was guaranteed by Turkey.
This is nothing more than cheap populism, in which Perdikis has great expertise, but it also exposes his contempt for the constitution and democracy. First, the responsibility for the negotiation of a settlement, constitutionally, belongs to the president; second, the House has no constitutional authority to impose any conditions in this regard on the president; third, the president is not answerable to the House; fourth, the president was democratically elected and has a mandate to negotiate a settlement; fifth, the rejectionist candidate in the presidential elections received only 25 per cent of the vote.
People did not vote for Anastasiades so that he could follow the rejectionists’ stance on the Cyprus problem or to heed their negative advice. They are after all in the minority, a point that will be highlighted when Perdikis’ absurd proposal is put to the vote at the next plenum of the House. This will also serve as a reminder that in a democracy the parties that make up a minority cannot call the shots, just because they make a lot of noise.